Over the weekend I was chatting with a fella and when I mentioned how much I love social media, he asked me if I'm one of those girls who always posts selfies. Proudly, I said yes. Later on that night I watched him creep my pics on Facebook and he quickly changed his tune about selfie-taking.
Selfies have gotten a bad rap over the years because it can be seen as self-absorption, attention-seeking, and pretty vain.
But I see it as the perfect way to bear witness to one's self, and a way to honour and celebrate one's deepening beauty. We have every right to see ourselves as beautiful. I have never bought into the idea that a woman's beauty exists solely for male consumption (or for others, period) and I have never understood women who orient themselves that way but to each her own.
Whatever makes you feel most aligned and most YOU, do that.
I've been on a mission to see my own external beauty for years, and taking pictures along the way helps me to do just that. Slowly but surely.
Sure, some people do post pictures of themselves solely for the purpose of receiving external validation (why is that a bad thing anyways if it leads them closer to feeling ok inside), but there are many others who are doing it solely for themselves.
We may share the results with you, but the pictures weren't taken with you in mind. They weren't taken for anticipated "likes". They weren't taken in an effort to get compliments. They were taken because we felt lovely and wanted to capture our own loveliness and share it with the world. So we did.
Last week I received the following message from a fellow who I've known for a few years, and it's what inspired this post:
Mandy, I love how comfortable you are with your sexuality. Your confidence and openness matches your Beauty. You keep it classy, you keep it edgy, and you keep it fun. I thought it should be said you have a positive image of yourself and you share your beauty, but there is no doubt it is for you first." J.B.
I loved the "there is no doubt it is for you first" part so much that I wanted to expand on that idea. He was completely right. What I share is ultimately for myself because my writings and my photos help me to understand and love myself more fully, and I just happen to let others in on the expressions.
Only once have I ever taken pictures specifically for someone else, and even the results of that ended up in a blog anyways (Naked Body, Beaming Soul - 18+) because although my delicious connection with this fellow inspired me to take and send my first nude, I ended up falling in love with the image and thus claimed it for myself.
Every moment that I can see myself with eyes of love is a win. I know I'm not the only person who struggles with self-criticism but every year that negative voice softens and my self-loving voice strengthens.
Despite what someone might think about how many pictures of myself I post online, I'm not doing it for external validation. If other people's opinions of me held any weight in my world, I could have changed my opinion of myself a long time ago.
My pictures are for me but I share them with you. I desperately want to see and experience myself as beautiful after having felt the opposite for so much of my life, and selfies leave a trail for me to tune into.
That being said, I know full well I'm far more than my looks.
I've spent much of my life not taking them into account and being blind to them in the first place so my sense of self is deeply rooted in my spirit. In who I am at my core. My looks are the least significant thing about me, but they deserve to be loved as beautifully as anything else in my life. So that's what I've been up to.
I don't think the world needs more selfies but the world certainly needs to support people - especially women - in feeling as wonderful as humanely and divinely possible, because people who are self-loving and self-accepting are people who are more loving and accepting towards others.
So whatever it is you can do in your life to feel juicy and fabulous and high on life and bursting with energy and peaceful in your heart, DO THAT. DO ALL THE THINGS! Even if all the things are unique to you. Who fucking cares what anyone thinks.
Selfies aren't for everyone. Heck, pictures aren't for everyone. A lot of people hate the camera, or don't use one in the first place, or simply don't feel the urge to document things (personal or otherwise) through photographs.
So I guess I'm writing this for the ones who take pleasure in creating mini art pieces with themselves as the main focus.
Go on with your self-adoring self.
I am, and will always be, the main focus in my life. It's called Mandyland for a reason.
I am here to face myself and all my parts internally and externally and to share the results of both publicly. That's just what I do, what I've always done, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
I'm just me being me.
I hope you're you being you.
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